Each level of obedience competition – Beginner Novice (BN), Novice (CD), Open (CDX), and Utility (UD) – requires mastering a specific skill set, which increases in difficulty, before advancing to the next level. The dog and handler team must successfully complete the required exercises three times under two different judges to obtain the title for that level.
Competition Obedience can be the next step for a Havanese/handler team that has enjoyed the Rally ring but is also a great introduction to teamwork for this smart and handler-focused breed.
The beginning class “Beginner Novice” is completed on lead for all exercises except the recall. The team learns to work together with occasional verbal encouragement but no food or toys.
The Novice class adds off-leash exercises, examination by the judge, and a recall with a finish to heel.
The Open class introduces more advanced skills, the dog doing retrieves, one jump exercise, and distance work responding to verbal and hand signals from the handler.
The Utility class is “graduate level” work for the team. All exercises are off lead, one exercise is conducted with hand signals only, the dog is required to find an object that has his owner’s scent among those touched by a stranger, and distance work to jump to a specific jump from across the ring from their person.
Competition Obedience is a wonderful way to build a working relationship with your dog. Havanese are a companion dog, being with their “person” is key to their happiness. Working and playing with us is their greatest pleasure. The current training methods using clickers, food, toys, praise, and positive reinforcement are perfect fit for this smart, loving breed.
Here's a link to the AKC Obedience information.
Challenges for the Dog
Novice Level - walking, short trot. Higher levels require some jumping, and leaving the handler on command. Must be willing to partner with handler and focus.
Challenges for the Handler
Handler walks the course with short bursts (10-20 feet) of running. Must be able to see dog as partner.
To get through upper levels may take a year or more of training for a new trainer.